Recent Sips: A Trio of Pinot Noirs from Walt Wines

Hello Friends,

I recently had an opportunity to join the good folks at CellarPass for a virtual tasting with Megan Gunderson, winemaker for Walt Wines. Walt Wines is located in Sonoma, California, and owned by Kathryn Hall, proprietor of Hall Wines. The label honors Kathryn’s parents, Bob and Dolores Walt, who were both dedicated winegrowers themselves. Walt specializes in small-production, single-vineyard Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, with a laser focus on the latter. They currently produce twelve different Pinot Noirs from select sites along the Pacific Coast, covering terrain from Willamette Valley, Oregon, down to Sta. Rita Hills, California.

A Trio of Pinot Noirs from Walt Wines
The wines featured in this tasting are from Anderson Valley (Mendocino) and Santa Lucia Highlands (Monterey), California. All three, though wildly different, are riper in style with a richness that’s uniquely Californian. They are well-made and most importantly -- nicely balanced. All three are fine solitary sippers, but would also pair wonderfully with meats like rack of lamb, pan-seared duck breast, and game dishes (e.g., venison, rabbit, bison). If you have taken your wine journey full-circle and ended up at Pinot Noir, then Walt Wines is a great producer to get familiar with. For further information and where you can find these Pinot Noirs, please see my tasting notes below.

WALT Wines "Pinpoint Extreme" Anderson Valley 2012 Pinot Noir 
Review: WALT Wines "Pinpoint Extreme" Anderson Valley 2012 Pinot Noir (SRP $65): Medium garnet in color with an inviting and forward nose, this wine is relatively rich and broad textured with raspberry preserve, blueberry, and black cherry flavors accompanied by trailing streaks of bitter-sweet cocoa powder and brown spice. The ripe, deep berry fruit flavors are intertwined with juicy acidity that glides through to the lasting finish. This wine is ripe, yet sophisticated and balanced. While a nice solitary sipper, it would be a wonderful addition to the dinner table for dishes like spiced-rubbed lamb pops or sweetbread (thinking outside the box with this pairing). Region: Anderson Valley, California (Other info: ABV 14.9%, cork enclosure). 91 Points. Click here to find this wine.

WALT Wines ‘The Corners’ Anderson Valley 2012 Pinot Noir
Review: WALT Wines ‘The Corners’ Anderson Valley 2012 Pinot Noir (SRP $65): Medium ruby-purple in color, this rich and concentrated Pinot Noir offers dark purple fruit tones, blueberry, and sweet dried cherry aromas framed by warm spice and (muted) cocoa nibs. The palate mirrors the nose and is full-bodied and balanced with understated acidity, a velvety texture, and flavors that expand and persist on to the lingering, voluptuous finish. This is a delicious and all-around generous Pinot Noir that’s enjoyable on its own and a good match for foods like pan-seared duck breast in port sauce. Region: Anderson Valley, California (Other info: ABV 15.2%, cork enclosure). 92 Points. Click here to find this wine.

WALT Wines Sierra Mar Santa Lucia Highlands 2012 Pinot Noir
Review: WALT Wines Sierra Mar Santa Lucia Highlands 2012 Pinot Noir (SRP $65): This is a Pinot for Cabernet lovers. It’s mouth-filling and richly extracted with purple and dark red fruit flavors besides nuances of cedar and spice box. Though broad-shouldered and assertive, it wears its weight relatively well and you can't deny the deliciousness. For this particular Pinot Noir, you will want to reserve the salmon and go with a nice slab of red meat. Region: Santa Lucia Highlands, California. (Other info: ABV 15.5%, cork enclosure). 90 Points. Click here to find this wine.

Backyard Feathered Friend: Red-Bellied Woodpecker
About CellarPass: CellarPassTV is an informative weekly wine broadcast in which some of California’s top winemakers, winery owners, and people in the food and wine industry are interviewed by host Sarah Elliman. Their website,, is a leading destination for online winery reservations that’s well worth checking out if you’re thinking about visiting California wine country. To view this episode of CellarPassTV, click here.

Have a question about this post? Feel free to drop me an e-mail at or hit me up on Facebook or Twitter. Stay tuned ...more to come. Happy Sipping, my friends! Disclosure: These wines were provided for review. Thoughts are my own.

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